The value of writing a business plan is obvious to any college student majoring in business or any person interested in starting a business. A business plan is the roadmap a business follows that will hopefully put it on the path to success. Knowing how to write a business plan, therefore, is critical skill that all business majors must learn. While not a simple task, with a little help, writing a business plan can certainly be made easier.
General Tips for Writing a Business Plan
- Seek out Internet sites that sell business plans so you can see what a business plan looks like. You might want to buy a business plan that you can use as an example after which to model your own paper. The bibliography section of the sample business plan can also help you locate important resources.
- Avoid vagueness. Be specific in your business plan by citing target dates, statistics, financial and marketing plans etc.
- Avoid hype, cliches and meaningless phrases. The business plan is supposed to represent the path a business will follow to achieve success. It should be honest and straightforward.
- Take advantage of the many online sources for writing business plans such as business schools and the US Small Business Administration.
The Business Plan Format
- Cover Sheet: Includes the name of the company, management teams and the members' positions, phone numbers, date, location
- Table of Contents
- Mission Statement
- Body of the Document:
- Organization/Structure of the Business
- Management Experience, Skills, Responsibilities
- Marketing Plan: Includes a discussion of the product or service offered, the target market with statistics, SWOT analysis, pricing, promotion, and placement strategy
- Financial Data e.g., projected income, expenses, finance sources
- Supporting Documentation e.g., legal documents, principals, resumes etc.
- Summarize the opportunity presented by the proposed business
- Emphasize again the support required to grow the business.
In summary, business plans are important because they define what the business will be and they explain how the business will grow and succeed. A well-written business plan can be a key element in the success of a business. Therefore, it is critical that the plan be complete, follow the correct format, and provide all relevant information regarding the growth and development of the business.
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